Dendrelaphis tristis (Daudin, 1803)
Photo: Vivek Sharma
|Status||Common in most of the parts but may be uncommon above Gangetic Plains and Northern India.|
|Distribution||All over India except North-East states and Andaman & Nicobar islands.|
|Legal protection||Protected : Schedule|
|IUCN Status||This taxon has not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List|
Common Bronzeback tree snake (Dendrelaphis tristis )
Gujrati- Tamra pith, Reliyo | Kannad- Marad havu | Malyalam- Villa pamb, Villoni pamb | Marathi- Ruka | Tamil- Komberi mukkan, Maram pamb | Telgu- Mann pamu, Goobra
Length- General length is 3ft (90cm) approx but can grow up to 169cm.
Dorsal body- - Body very thin, long with long & smooth scales; long hexagonal scale line present at the top which is larger than the rest of side scales. Dorsal color brown, blackish or purplish black having sky blue color on lower edge of front and mid body scales. No such sky blue colouration found in top scales. Side dorsal row have larger scales of same color like ventral scales, sometimes black edge also present on them.
Ventral body- Belly scales sharply folded in an upward direction. Color yellowish white, white or greenish white mostly; subcaudal scales have olive tint of yellow or brown colors.
Head- Head flattened, elongated and a little blunt; clearly broader than the neck. Upper snout projects beyond lower jaw. Large eyes have rounded pupils. Tongue color bluish gray. Whitish, greenish or yellowish rounded spot present in the middle of two parietal scales which is always present in this species.
Tail- Very long and thin tail of bronze, brown or blackish brown color which ends with a very thin pointed tip. Subcaudal scales paired in a zigzag manner.
Key characters for identification-
- Very long and thin body usually looks white or brown with blue scales in front body.
- A rounded whitish spot or dot present in between two parietal scales which is absent in other bronzebacks.
Head- 9 Supralabials, 5th & 6th touches eyes; 1 Preocular; 1 Loreal; 2 Postocular; Temporals 2+2.
Dorsal- Smooth scales of 15-15 in front and mid body while 11 or 9 on posterior body.
Ventral- 163-197; anal divided.
Subcaudal- 108-145; divided.
Behavior- Like all Bronzebacks it is also a diurnal and arboreal species. Spends most of its life above the ground. It is one of the best climbers and can climb on vertical rough surface of trees. Lives in trees, bushes, thorny vegetation etc. Behavior fast, alert and active; one of the fastest tree snake of South East Asia. Can “jump or leap” from small heights in an attempt to catch it. When provoked, broadens its forebody and show blue color of scales; bites on rough treatment. Feed on birds, frogs, lizards etc.
Reproduction - Female lays 3-8 eggs in a clutch from April to September in tree holes and cracks at heights.
Rescue Situations -
This is the most widely distributed Bronzeback species across the country. In South India, Maharastra and Central India it is common in rescues while rare to rescue in North India. Generally found at day time in those areas where heavy vegetation and trees are present, normally avoids entering inside human homes and remains in gardens. As it is non-venomous snake, rescuer can release it very close to the rescue site of area where there are trees and gardens. Attempt of travelling to long distance should be avoided.